Important Information for F-1 Visa Students
Maintaining your F-1 status is more than just having an I-20; it is making sure that you follow immigration regulations that govern F-1 status. As an F-1 student, you have certain responsibilities, benefits and restrictions that you must keep in mind to protect your status.
In order to enjoy your stay in the U.S. and to have a great experience as an international student, please take the time to learn about your immigration status and closely follow the immigration regulations.
Below you will find a list of campus forms that will help you successfully maintain your status as an F-1 student. Keep in mind that our office is here to help, but YOU are ultimately responsible for your status.
When can I take a vacation?
- As an F-1 visa student, you are required to be enrolled in classes at all times except for official program breaks or during authorized vacation periods.
- You are eligible for an authorized vacation period after you have been enrolled in twenty-six weeks of consecutive study session here at KSU, or combined with other programs. The twenty-six weeks only includes instructional time; it does not include any time between sessions or between transfers.
- A vacation period allows you to stay in the U.S. without studying for one session.
- You may not request a vacation period for a session that has already begun.
- According to SEVIS regulations, you may only request a vacation period if you plan to return to continue your studies after the vacation.
- If you are in High Advanced, you are only eligible for a vacation if this is your first time in High Advanced and you are going to take the High Advanced level again after your vacation.
- After your vacation, you must take the IEP placement test again. The results of this placement will determine your level for your new session of study, and could mean that you have move down a level or repeat a level that you previously passed. If you decide to take a vacation period after taking a level two times, you must place into a higher level when you return from vacation. You will not be able to repeat the level again.
Click here to locate the Authorized Vacation Period Request Form.
Once you have completed the form, please return it directly to the IEP Office for approval.
Withdrawing from the IEP Center
As an F-1 visa student, you are required to be enrolled in classes at all time except for official program breaks or during an authorized vacation period, until you have completed the High Advanced level of the Intensive English Program, or until you have completed the program dates as listed on your I-20. If you must discontinue your studies in the middle of the session, or if you must discontinue your studies before successfully completing the High Advanced level or your program, you must request an early withdrawal from the Intensive English Program.
To withdraw from the IEP, you must submit the following documents to the IEP Office:
- Copy of your airplane ticket and/or copy of your flight reservations
After leaving the program, if you wish to continue your studies in the KSU IEP for a future session, please contact the IEP Office at 470-578-2214.
Transferring to another school
In order to transfer your I-20 from Kennesaw State University to another program, you should submit the following by the appropriate deadline:
- A copy of your acceptance letter from the new school
Once you have both documents ready, please submit them directly to the IEP Office for approval.
Request an I-20 Extension
Students may request an extension to their I-20 program date for medical or academic reasons.
To request an I-20 extension, you should submit the following information:
- An updated bank statement or bank letter
- An updated sponsor letter (if the funding source is not your own)
Please submit your all required documents to the IEP Office for approval.
Academic Reduced Courseload for Medical Reasons
If you are experiencing a medical situation that will cause you to be absent from multiple classes, please notify the IEP Office for guidance about the IEP attendance policy and the possibility of a reduced courseload. Timely communication with the IEP Office is extremely important.
In general, permission to register for less than full-time should rarely occur in a student’s career. According to immigration regulations, the foreign student (F-1) should be full-time during each session. RCLSs for medical conditions can be granted for no more than 12 months in total. RCL authorizations for medical reasons must be approved prior to the reduction in course load. The rule also requires the DSO to reauthorize the RCL each new term or session.
To request a reduced course load, you must complete the Academic Reduced Course Load Request Form for Medical Reasons.
Additionally, you must provide a letter from a licensed medical doctor, doctor of osteopathy, or clinical psychologist, recommending a reduced course load to part-time or no classes for the session
Click here to locate the Academic Reduced Course Load Request Form for Medical Reasons.
Once you have completed the form and have the letter from the doctor, please submit this documentation directly to the IEP Office for approval.
Traveling: Do I need to tell anyone that I am traveling?
If you are traveling within the United States no action is needed by the IEP Office.
However, if you are traveling outside of the United States you must have a valid travel signature on your immigration Form I-20 to re-enter the United States. Please visit the IEP Office for a travel signature if you are planning to travel outside of the United States during one of the session breaks.
Keep in mind to re-enter the U.S. you will need the following information:
- Valid passport
- Valid visa
- Unexpired I-20
- A travel signature from the IEP Center
If I am no longer studying in the Intensive English Program can I stay in the United States?
The amount of time permitted an F-1 Student who is no longer studying depends on his or her I-20 status.
- If you unlawfully withdraw or your I-20 is terminated for failure to maintain your status you must immediately depart the country!
- If you request an authorized withdrawal, you are allowed 15 days to make your travel arrangements and depart the United States
- If you request a transfer or change of education level by the appropriate deadline, you may remain in the United States while you are waiting for your new program to begin
- If you successfully complete the High Advanced level or your program end date, you are given a 60 day grace period to transfer to another school or depart the United States
I have a new address/email/phone number. Should I tell anyone?
Federal regulations require you to report to our office any address changes within 10 days of moving.
Please contact the IEP Office if the following changes happen:
- You change your residential address in the United States
- You change your mailing address in the United States
- You change your home address in your home country
- Your change your email address or phone number
All residential addresses must be a physical street address. No P.O. Box addresses are allowed.